NFF welcomes changes to Seasonal Worker Program

Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomed the announcement of proposed changes to the Seasonal Worker Program, which aims to assist Australian employers unable to find enough local Australian workers to meet their seasonal labour demands.

“These are sensible measures to lift participation in the Seasonal Worker Program,” NFF President Brent Finlay said.

“It’s a good program, which contributes to the economic development of Timor-Leste and eight Pacific nations, as well as helping Australian farmers.

“The changes will remove individual industry caps in relation to horticulture, cotton, cane and aquaculture. The overall cap of 12,000 workers will remain unchanged.

“The current caps on the number of workers who can come to Australia each year artificially restrict access, because they apply to individual industries rather than the broader agriculture sector.

“These changes will promote flexibility and allow the program to adapt as changes in the labour market require.

“Seasonal conditions, commodity prices and export markets are highly variable; so our workforce needs vary accordingly.

“Today’s changes will mean that more workers have the opportunity to improve their lives; and at the same time, allow labour market supply to better meet demand in the Australian agriculture sector,” Mr Finlay said.

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